Interesting project over at http://www.zzoss.com/phpwiki/index.php/ZzossInstaller;
“ZZ/OSS Installer is a PHP-based installation wizard for professional release management of modular PHP applications.”
In essence it builds on what the PEAR package manager does to allow installation and management of complete applications – plenty of further info on the WIKI.
Certainly a good idea but, at the moment, I’m skeptical.
With the available releases, while playing “I’m a dumb user”, was unable to install the installer. Didn’t look to hard at where the problems were but a number of PHP “gotchas”, like allow_call_time_pass_reference (see here) reared their ugly head, which suggest the current releases are not ready for mass deployment.
More generally, writing installers for PHP, the installer itself also being PHP, is notoriously difficult. The PEAR Package Manager has been a long time in development and there are still issues on platforms like Win98. There’s also questions like “Do you feel secure?” having a tool like this exposed somewhere on your server (even if it is protected with some form of authentication).
Doubts aside, PHP lacks a solid application installer / manager and ZZ/OSS Installer is the first serious attempt I’ve seen at building one. With more user feedback, perhaps the current issues can be cleaned up and we’ll have something everyone can use.